What Is a Mesothelioma Cancer Center?
Mesothelioma cancer centers are comprehensive health care facilities that specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and research of mesothelioma.
With the world’s most experienced mesothelioma oncologists, surgeons, and radiologists leading their programs, these facilities provide the best patient care available. Additionally, mesothelioma cancer centers often have their own in-house research initiatives to test the latest methods for treating this rare cancer.
To get connected with a cancer center near you, reach out to a Patient Advocate today at (866) 608-8933.
Where Can I Find a Mesothelioma Cancer Center?
One of the most important decisions mesothelioma patients and their families make is where to receive treatment.
Many patients visit the cancer center closest to where they live, but some travel out of state for treatment. Patients can also get referrals from local physicians to specialized facilities nearby. Below, find examples of mesothelioma cancer centers based on patient needs.
Pleural Mesothelioma Cancer Centers
Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of mesothelioma, and as such, there are numerous cancer centers across the country specializing in diagnosing and treating this form of cancer.
Pleural mesothelioma cancer centers have comprehensive treatment programs and dedicated research, technology, and clinical trials geared towards finding a cure.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Boston
- Home of the International Mesothelioma Program, one of the most comprehensive mesothelioma research programs in the world
- Led by Dr. Raphael Bueno
- Birthplace of the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) surgical procedure
Learn more about Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
University of Chicago Cancer Center, Chicago
- Receives major funding for mesothelioma treatment research
- Led by Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler
- Home to ongoing clinical trials for novel vaccine therapies
Learn more about the University of Chicago Cancer Center.
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
- Provides tailored treatment plans focused on improving prognosis and maintaining quality of life
- Led by Dr. Anne Tsao
- Leading mesothelioma research facility studying targeted therapies
Learn more about the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Cancer Centers
Though peritoneal mesothelioma is less common than its pleural counterpart, treatment options have improved drastically in the past 10 years.
The progress in peritoneal mesothelioma treatment is attributed to a handful of leading cancer centers dedicated to finding new and novel ways of treating this deadly disease.
Washington Cancer Institute, Washington D.C.
- Offers specialized treatment plans for peritoneal mesothelioma patients
Previously led by world-renowned surgeon Dr. Paul Sugarbaker
Home of the Peritoneal Surface Malignancies program dedicated to treating rare abdominal cancers
Learn more about the Washington Cancer Institute.
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh
- Home to the Mesothelioma Speciality Care Program
- Led by Dr. David Bartlett and Dr. James Pingpank
- Participates in the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank (NMVB), an online database of past mesothelioma patients’ blood, tissue, and DNA samples
Learn more about the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa Bay
- Home to the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center
- Peritoneal mesothelioma treatment led by specialist Dr. Sophie Dessureault
- Tailors treatment approaches to each patient using the expertise of a multidisciplinary team
Learn more about H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center.
Mesothelioma Cancer Centers for Veterans
Through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), veterans with mesothelioma can be treated at any of the nation’s VA cancer centers.
Many veterans opt to use the VA Healthcare System because the professionals working in these facilities sympathize with the unique struggles that veterans and their families face. Additionally, these centers can help veterans learn what VA benefits they may be eligible for.
VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston
- Serves veterans from across the country
- Led by Dr. Avi Lebenthal
- National research and treatment development center associated with Harvard Medical School
Learn more about the VA Boston Healthcare System.
Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, Los Angeles
- Largest VA hospital in the nation
- Treats pleural mesothelioma using the lung-saving procedure, pleurectomy with decortication
Learn more about the Los Angeles VA Healthcare System.
Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston
- Serves over 120,000 Texan veterans
- Affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston
Learn more about the Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center.
Why Seek Treatment at a Mesothelioma Cancer Center?
For mesothelioma patients, the type and level of care they receive is the difference between life and death. Mesothelioma is rare, with only 3,000 new cases annually in America. Because of its rarity, it’s extremely difficult for general oncologists to understand mesothelioma, let alone treat it effectively.
Below, learn why patients and their families are strongly encouraged to visit mesothelioma cancer centers for their entire treatment experience.
Get the Right Diagnosis
Mesothelioma can be very hard to diagnose. Not only is it extremely rare, but it also behaves differently than other types of lung or abdominal cancers. Mesothelioma cancer cells can be easily mistaken for other types of cancer cells, even by the most experienced general oncologist.
The intricacies of mesothelioma put patients at high risk of a misdiagnosis. A mesothelioma misdiagnosis puts a patient on an incorrect treatment plan, potentially allowing their mesothelioma to spread more.
There is a lot involved in diagnosing mesothelioma, and each factor plays into which type of treatment will ultimately work. Only specialists can make these time-sensitive decisions for mesothelioma patients.
“Mesothelioma is so complex, and its care so specialized, that a patient really needs the best care in the world.”
Receive Life-Saving, Specialized Treatment
Curative mesothelioma treatment is the best way to extend a patient’s life. Once a patient has received an accurate diagnosis by a specialist, the lead oncologist works with their multidisciplinary team to devise the best treatment plan possible.
Cancer center teams provide lifesaving treatments from radiation therapy to chemotherapy to aggressive, tumor-removing surgeries. It’s this multimodal approach to specialized treatment that can improve a patient’s prognosis and extend their life.
Working with several experts across different specialties gives mesothelioma patients the best shot at survival. Even for late-stage patients, palliative treatments administered by mesothelioma specialists can greatly improve quality of life.
Benefit from Clinical Trials
Mesothelioma patients should visit specialized cancer centers so they can access upcoming treatments through clinical trials. Right now, the latest research in mesothelioma prevention, diagnosis, and treatment is underway at certain cancer centers across America.
Eligible patients can undergo these groundbreaking treatments directly at their mesothelioma cancer center. Whether it’s access to the latest chemotherapy drugs or new immunotherapy techniques, mesothelioma patients are given the opportunity to undergo life-extending therapies.
Any time a cure is found for any disease, it’s because of the research in clinical trials at specialized institutes like cancer centers.
Who Works at Mesothelioma Cancer Centers?
Treatment programs at cancer centers are led by top mesothelioma doctors who have been trained, taught, or mentored by other world-renowned specialists. The best mesothelioma treatment programs in the nation consist of a robust team of experts, each specializing in their own branch of oncological medicine.
At a mesothelioma cancer center, you can expect to work with many of the following types of medical professionals and on-site support personnel:
- Surgical oncologists
- Medical oncologists
- Radiation oncologists
- Oncology nurses and nursing staff
- Social workers
- Chaplains, ministers, and other faith-based leaders
- Grief counselors
- Hospice care workers
- Psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health professionals
Each individual plays a crucial role in delivering full-service, high-quality patient care. A diverse and knowledgeable team like those at mesothelioma cancer centers ensures the best treatment experience possible.
How to Choose a Mesothelioma Cancer Center
While all the mesothelioma care centers listed above serve as an excellent choice, there are many other factors that might help make your decision.
Factors to consider when choosing a mesothelioma cancer center include:
- Location: Are any of the cancer centers close to you?
- Ability to Travel: Can you travel for treatment?
- Financial Considerations: How will treatment costs differ from one center to the other? Also, consider factors like travel and lodging expenses.
- Insurance: Know what your plan covers for the center you choose.
- Surgery Options: What are the different types of surgeries offered at each center?
- VA Healthcare: Are there VA specialists trained to help you if you’re a veteran?
- Clinical Trials: Which trials are offered at which centers and which can help you?
- Experience: How much experience does the specialist have with the surgery or treatment you need?
You’ll find that every mesothelioma cancer center deals with the same disease, but each facility has unique approaches and philosophies. For example, some centers believe in administering the most aggressive forms of treatment, while others take a more conservative approach.
While choosing a mesothelioma cancer center is a personal decision, there are some general considerations each patient should make when reviewing their options. Below, learn about the top four things experts recommend considering when choosing a cancer center.
It’s vital that whichever cancer center you choose has a solid background in treating your exact type of mesothelioma. This includes not only the cancer’s location but mesothelioma cell type and stage as well.
Certain programs only specialize in pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma, so it’s important to consider this before deciding on a center. Additionally, some specialists don’t feel confident treating end-stage mesothelioma, while for others it has become their focus.
Where the cancer center is located is another major consideration.
Many patients can’t travel far and prefer to visit centers as close to home as possible. Other patients can travel across the country to visit the center of their choice. For patients located in remote regions like Alaska, travel is necessary.
Most mesothelioma cancer centers go above and beyond to accommodate the patient’s insurance requirements. However, before moving ahead with your choice in a cancer center, be sure to contact an administrator directly to learn more about how their insurance process works.
You can also ask about how insurance gets processed and any other administrative details that are important, such as access to your health records.
Access to New Therapies
A final and crucial consideration for all mesothelioma patients is whether or not a cancer center has ongoing clinical trials they can participate in. New therapies being tested in clinical trials at various cancer centers have meant the difference between a few months and a few years to live for some patients.
Mesothelioma patients deserve the absolute best in treatment technology and must make sure their chosen center can provide it.
Get Specialized Treatment At a Mesothelioma Cancer Center
Mesothelioma patients require swift and specialized medical intervention that addresses their unique and rare diagnoses.
Mesothelioma cancer centers offer these benefits and more, including:
- Experience treating rare cancers, including mesothelioma
- Full-service, personalized treatment from diagnosis to follow-up
- Access to in-house research initiatives and clinical trial programs for top treatment technologies
The team of Patients Advocates at Mesothelioma Hope can help you find and connect with the mesothelioma cancer center nearest you. Contact us today to find a facility with the necessary expertise and technology to help improve your prognosis.